Comparison of Screening and Referral Strategies for Exposure to Partner Violence

Womens Health Issues. Jan-Feb 2012;22(1):e45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2011.06.008. Epub 2011 Jul 28.


Background: Although under debate, routine screening for intimate partner violence (IPV) is recommended in health care settings. This study explored the utility of different screening and referral strategies for women exposed to IPV in primary health care.

Methods: Using a randomized controlled trial design we compared two screening strategies (health care providers [HCP] versus audio computer-assisted self-interviews [A-CASI]) and three referral strategies (HCP alone, A-CASI referral with HCP endorsement, and A-CASI alone). English-speaking women who were 18 years and older and were attending women's health clinics at a public hospital were eligible to participate. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three study groups (HCP screen and referral, A-CASI screen and referral with HCP referral endorsement, and A-CASI screen and referral). Women were reinterviewed by telephone 1 week later. The primary outcome was rate of IPV disclosure; secondary outcomes were screening mode preference, reactions to IPV screening, and use of referral resources.

Results: Of the 129 eligible women, 126 women were enrolled (98%); 102 women (81% of those enrolled) completed the follow-up telephone interview. Disclosure rates were higher for women screened with A-CASI compared with HCP-screened women (21% vs. 9%; p = .07). Screening mode preference, impact of screening (positive and negative reactions), and rates of use of referral resources were similar between study groups.

Conclusion: A-CASI tended to yield higher rates of IPV disclosure and similar rates of use of referral resources. A-CASI technology may be a practical way to screen for IPV.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chicago
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health